Bangalore – The Services crumbled meekly as Punjab, courtesy three goals apiece by Gurjinder Singh and Akashdeep Singh, raced to a 7-2 win in their concluding Pool C game entering the quarterfinals of Hockey India’s second senior national men’s hockey championship here Thursday.
In a match that was twice interrupted by rain, Services, who needed only a draw to advance to the knock-out stage, failed to deliver despite goals by Lovepreet Singh (25th) and Sanwar Ali (54th) as Punjab notched their second win in the three-team pool.
Services, who finished with three points, had their chances while Punjab went on to dominate much of the match.
Gurjinder put them ahead with a ninth minute penalty corner conversion only to see Services bounce back with an equaliser from Lovepreet who diverted a cross from Mukesh Lakra.
On change of ends, Punjab were lucky to get their second goal after Gurjinder’s attempt from a 43rd minute penalty corner trickled over the goalline off goalkeeper PT Rao‘s pads and the stick of defender Rajesh Lakra whose robust tackle had resulted in the award.
The Services caught up a second time when Sanwar Ali found the mark from a penalty corner in the 54th before the floodgates opened as Akashdeep (58th, 66th, 70th), Gurjinder (62nd) and Satbir Singh (69th) struck for Punjab who thus completed a resounding win.
The pool originally had five teams, but Arunachal Pradesh did not turn up and Chattisgarh were expelled from the tournament earlier this week on disciplinary grounds.
The Services had beaten Jammu and Kashmir 18-0 while Punjab had won 12-1 against the same team.
It meant the Services had a better goal-difference and a draw Thursday would have put them in the quarterfinals.
Elsewhere, Chandigarh kept their hopes alive with a second win in three Pool D outings, defeating Goa 14-2 while Jharkhand beat Uttarakhand 7-1 for their second success in as many matches.
Pool A: Puducherry 2 (Manthena 2) drew with Bengal 2 (Asis Singh Sengar, Gurvinder Singh).
Pool B: Delhi 10 (Avatar Singh Mann 2, Umesh 2, Shyambir 2, Lalit, Pawan Singh Chouhan) beat Mizoram 1 (Lalringheta); Andhra Pradesh 5 (Ramesh Krishnan 2, Ramesh Setti, Sandeep Raju, Krishna Kishore) beat Himachal Pradesh 4 (Amit Lochab 2, Sarabjeet Singh, Lakhvir Singh).
Pool C: Punjab 7 (Gurjinder Singh 3, Akashdeep Singh 3, Satbir Singh 1) beat Services 2 (Lovepreet Singh, Sanwar Ali).
Pool D: Jharkhand 7 (Ajitesh Roy 5, Anil Xaxa, Gainder Tigga) beat Uttarakhand 1 (Manoj Singh Rawat); Chandigarh 14 (Deepanshu Bhargava 3, Raminder Singh 2, Sandeep Singh 2, Lakhwinder Singh 2, Ravinder Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Shahnawaz Alam, Lovedeep, Kulbhushan Vashisht) beat Goa 2 (Glen Prad, Dattesh Priolkar).
Pool F: Uttar Pradesh 24 (Chandan Singh 7, Jayakaran 3, Abhishek 3, Imran Khan 3, Mohd Amir Khan 7, Chauhan Singh) beat Tripura 0; Railways 12 (Sanjay Bir Singh 6, Innocent Kullu 3, Chenglensana 2, Victo Singh) beat Assam 0.
Pool H: Manipur 9 (Chittaranjan Singh 2, Herojit Singh 3, Hera Singh, Gayan Enderjit, Jayanta Kumar Meitel, Abung Singh) beat Bihar 3 (Chotu Kumar, Brisha Bhengra 2).